Have you been putting off going to the doctor’s office?

You would think that as doctors we would have no problem going to get medical care for ourselves, but it’s actually pretty common for doctors to avoid going to the doctor’s office. This comes up again and again for my clients and I’ve dealt with it too, so if this is something you struggle with, you’re not alone.

Why is it that we avoid going to a doctor? It turns out avoiding the doctor is not that different from avoiding lots of other things in life. Let’s get to the bottom of what causes avoidance and how to make it easier for yourself to schedule that doctor’s appointment.

Listen To The Episode Here:

In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • Avoiding difficult situations 
  • What motivates avoidance 
  • Understanding the cycle of your thoughts 
  • The power in knowing that you control how you feel 
  • Why you need to build a strong relationship with yourself 
  • Trusting yourself to have your own back 
  • Learning to process your emotions
  • Getting the support you need

I hope it helps to know that you’re not the only one who does this. Sometimes all we need is a little more support from ourselves and from the people around us. I want you to make sure that you’re getting the support that you need for whatever hard thing you’re avoiding. That support is going to make all the difference. 

Are you looking for support on your journey to weight loss and freedom around food? The Weight Loss for Doctors Only coaching program is the one program specifically designed by a physician to help female physicians lose weight permanently without ever counting calories. Go to katrinaubellmd.com/info to find out more. 

If you’ve read my book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time: Brain-Based Solutions for Permanent Weight Loss, it would mean the world to me if you would leave me a review letting other readers know what you thought! Click here to leave a review on Amazon.

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Ep #318: Work/Life Alignment

Get The Full Episode Transcript

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Read the Transcript Below:

Welcome to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians podcast. I’m your host, master certified life and Weight Loss coach Katrina Ubell, M.D. This is the podcast where busy doctors like you come to learn how to lose weight for the last time by harnessing the power of your mind. If you’re looking to overcome your stress, eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food, you’re in the right place. Well, hello there, my friend. Welcome back to the podcast. If you’re here for the first time, so glad that you’re joining me today. Quick update. I am back from Portugal. The last episode I was recording like on the brink of having to leave, I think maybe even that morning and and I’m back And it was a great, great trip. Super beautiful. We totally lucked out on the weather. And I super loved Portugal.

Who knew? I mean, not that I ever heard anything bad about Portugal. I’ve always heard good things, but definitely recommend it. And I have to say that going in February, for me, it was great. The weather was maybe in the morning in like the upper fifties by the late afternoons in the mid sixties, which was great because did you know that Portugal is very hilly? So you’re basically walking straight up or straight down all the time. We just never got like super hot and sweaty and super beautiful weather. We went to Nasri where they have those giant, giant waves and watch the surfers being towed in and surfing.

I mean, it was really cool. Lots of really great experiences for sure. For me, came back more tired than when I left, though. That’s okay. We have a beach trip scheduled for spring break, so we’ll actually get some relaxation time then. Right now, I don’t know if you can hear that coming through. You might. It is a big snowstorm and I think right now the whole US is supposed to be getting some weather of some sort. So I was actually secretly hoping that school would be called off today. I was like, Do you ever do this if you have kids at home? I’m like, Listen, it would be really good for me if they could have a snow day today. Just thinking about myself, I’ll be fine. They did not call snow day, though, unfortunately, so I’m going to have to go run out.

And I’ve got like the double pickup. I’ve got one kid who’s staying after school for I think it’s like a tap class that she’s doing tap dancing. So I got to go to regular pick up, pick up one kid and then come home and then probably 15 minutes later, 20 minutes later, turn back around and pick the next one up. And then luckily I’ve got the third one can drive himself. But then I’m like, okay, be careful. You know, I mean, I’m not super, super anxious mom with him driving, but also you’re 17, so just be careful. All right. Today’s topic is 100% inspired by my clients.

So those of you who are my clients who are listening, this is for you. And it’s for everybody else who has this issue as well. Especially if you have any friends who’ve been talking about this, maybe you can refer them to this episode. So it’s so interesting, right? We would think if we’re doctors and we offer medical care as our profession, that we would have no problem going and receiving that medical care ourselves. But it’s relatively common for doctors to avoid going to the doctor’s office themselves, like we don’t want to go to the doctor ourselves.

And that has been coming up again. And actually one of my coaches suggested that I address this on the podcast I thought is a great topic. I will be happy to oblige because it’s actually something that I know I’ve dealt with as well, and it’s been some things for me too at times. So I would like to talk to you about that. I did do an episode a while back about how to talk to our patients about weight. Sometimes we’re on the other side and we don’t want to go and be told something negative about our own selves. But let’s just look at this even from a bigger picture for some of us, I know for sure, me included, we might have been really good about the routine care for ourselves. And then COVID hit and then we got all out of whack. I know I did.

In terms of going to the dermatologist and getting regular skin checks. I have skin cancer of various varieties, both sides of my family. And, you know, I’m just a fair person who spent the first ten years of her life in Southern California. So it would be a very smart thing to keep doing that. And I finally went this last fall, and I think she told me it had been like three and a half years or something. That’s way, way, way too long for me. And I had been thinking about it and I just oh, go and just, you know, I get it. But sometimes we just don’t want to go through the paces of doing that. We might be embarrassed about what people are going to see. Maybe you’ve gained some weight. You don’t want people to see that.

Maybe you don’t want someone talking to you about it. I definitely know that, especially when you’re working yourself on getting it all under control. Sometimes it’s just a very personal experience and we don’t want other people’s input. You know, It’s like if I know that I’m working on this, like, say you are in a place where you’re like, Yeah, I’m going to lose weight, but I’m working on all this other personal stuff first so that I can be in a position where the weight loss actually sticks this time. Then you go to the doctor. And the doctor, of course, meaning? Well, make some comments, right? We can just be in a real sensitive place that can just hit us in a place that we just don’t want to be hit.

Let’s just say it’s a little tender, tender place and so. It makes sense that we would want to avoid that. You know, I mean, sometimes if you really think about it, I mean, just completely illogical. Sometimes we’re worried, What if I go and then I find out something’s wrong with me? Well, right. We all understand that if something is wrong, it’s always better, like literally 100% of the time.

Better to catch it earlier than it is to wait till it’s more involved. Right. So that’s how we know that this isn’t always a logical thing, right? It’s not something that’s like based in a rational mindset. And that’s okay because we don’t live in a rational mindset all the time. We are emotional beings as humans, and that’s normal and completely okay. So the thing about this is that this is really not that different than lots of other things that we avoid. Like anything that you might be avoiding. This is literally the same thing. So here are some other examples. You may avoid stepping on the scale.

Maybe you aren’t doing that now. Maybe it’s something that you were struggling with in the past. But if you have ever avoided stepping on the scale, then you know what I mean? You’re like, I kind of want to know what I weigh, but only if it’s good. Only if it’s a number that my brain thinks is good.

I don’t want to step on the scale. If I’m going to see a number, that will mean that I’m going to feel bad about myself, Right? Or it’s the same thing as avoiding a difficult conversation, right? We’re sitting there just like, Oh, like, I know I should probably do it, but I don’t really want to do it. Of course, the thing is avoiding these things. It’s not like we feel amazing and carefree. If we don’t do it, there’s a cost to not doing it. There’s a cost to maybe not stepping on the scale or avoiding that difficult conversation or not going to the doctor when it’s recommended. Right.

And those emotions that we typically feel are going to be more based in anxiety. Right? We know we should do it, but we’re not doing it. We’re anxious, we’re avoiding it, thinking that we won’t have to feel whatever it is that we’re going to feel when we do it. So then we’re just anxious about what we might feel sometime in the future, right? Or we’re anxious about something we might be missing. But so if you think about it, what is avoiding your appointment or avoiding setting it up? Like just literally think about where that is in the thinking cycle. It’s an action. I mean, it’s actually an inaction, right? Because you’re not doing the thing. So when we understand where it fits in the thinking cycle, right, we have our thoughts that create our feelings.

Feelings drive our actions. So it’s an action or inaction that we’re avoiding the appointment. Then all we have to do is move up in that thinking cycle. So what are the thoughts and feelings that are preceding the inaction? Not setting up the appointment right? Not going to the appointment, maybe rescheduling. And so this would be a good thing for you to spend some time pondering. Right. What is the thought?

What is the feeling that is creating the inaction? And for most people, it’s going to be somewhere along the lines of fear. It’s going to be fear based in some way, shape or form. And that fear, we think it’s fear of like what we’ll find out or what someone will say to us. And it’s not actually that the real fear, even behind that fear, is the fear of how we’ll feel. While we’re there or after once we have the interaction, right. So how you’ll feel maybe stepping onto the scale or waiting in the waiting room or having to talk to the nurse or having a conversation with the doctor. Right.

Or they tell you some things. Then you get back in your car and you go home and you’re afraid of how you’ll feel then. So the cool thing to remember here is that how you feel is not and cannot be created or determined by other people or things outside of you. So when we think that what other people say or certain interactions or numbers on scales or lab reports or imaging results, those things determine how we feel.

Then we feel very disempowered. We feel like just at the effect of what’s happening around us, like the emotions are just going to happen and then we’re going to feel super bad. So we just want to avoid that. That’s how we can control how we feel. And what I want to remind you of, and if this is new for you, offer to you as the reality. And the truth is that what creates your feelings is the way that you think and everything else that goes on. What people say numbers on scales, imaging results, conversations, what other people say and do and how they act.

All of that is a fact. But it’s outside of your thinking cycle. All of those things happen and then you decide what to make them mean by the way that you think this is excellent news. This is really, really, really good news. This is extremely empowering for you because the doctor can say the same thing to 20 people and will have 20 different thoughts or reactions or meanings made of what was said. It’s optional. It’s something that we can control and we can decide. So that’s really cool.

Now, sometimes, though, like you say, the doctor gives you some results that you’re really not excited about. Like you need to start a new medication or you have a new diagnosis or something like that. I’m not suggesting that you just always want to think something positive and then you’re feeling carefree about it necessarily, but understanding that you’re in control of how you feel is very, very empowering.

No one can make you feel anything. So when you’re avoiding an emotion, what you’re really avoiding is the thoughts that you think you’re going to have and you get to choose those. So that’s the first thing, very, very important. But what happens when, like I said, you get some new diagnosis or you need to go on some medication that you were hoping to avoid or something like that, you need some additional imaging. There’s some concern about some additional issue. I mean, it’s normal to feel the feelings about that, to have a lot of feelings about that.

Or maybe, you know, the doctor says something about food or your weight and you really didn’t want to have that conversation and now you’re feeling away. Right. When you know how to process that, then you don’t have to be afraid of those emotions. Why are we avoiding going? Because we don’t want to feel that way. And we think that then, you know, we’re just stuck with those emotions. But we’re not. When you know how to process your emotions, then you can move them through you in a way you’re never stuck feeling anything. You’re only stuck feeling it when you think that other people are determining how you feel, right? When you think other people are determining how you think. Because if you keep thinking a certain way that keeps making you feel the way you don’t want to feel, then you’ll think, Shoot, I better not do that thing.

That makes me think that way. That makes me feel this way. And it’s very disempowering. And then all we want to do is just avoid it and hope that everything is okay. So what you need to know is that when you have a strong relationship with yourself, when you know you’ve got your own back no matter what. Then this is not an issue. This is not something that you need to avoid, because you know that whatever happens, you’re going to be there for yourself. You’re not going to beat yourself up. You’re not going to be mean to yourself.

You’re not going to make it mean all these terrible things about you. You know, that you will treat yourself with kindness and compassion and love. And from that place you can figure out what the next best steps are for you. And maybe, potentially those steps are doing nothing. I remember going, see this doctor? She’s trained an alternative. Whatever additional training, nothing like crazy, but like some additional stuff. And without any conversation at all. She hands me this, like, multiple page handout with all kinds of like eating recommendations. And, you know, kind of the way she talked about is very presumptive about the way I thought about food and exercise and stuff. And it felt almost a bit accusatory and it really took me back like I just really was very, very surprised.

But it didn’t have to flip me out or make it mean that, like, you know, that something was wrong with me. I mean, I looked at what she offered and some of the stuff. I was just like, This is not something I’m going to do because I know what’s best for me. No one else can tell me. Better than me. What works for me? Right. I’m the expert in me, just like you are the expert in you.

And what’s going to work? So we don’t have to make that mean something negative. I mean, sure, my preference would have been that we didn’t have that interaction, but it’s okay. It’s not that big of a deal. I don’t have to make it mean something negative about me or about her or about the interaction. And just remember when you know how to process emotions, you know, you can move those emotions through you and you’re going to be okay. It’s just like processing any other emotion. T

his is a skill that you can learn. And I just want to point out that if you’re kind of sitting there going, Well, that’s all great, Katrina, but I don’t know how to do that stuff. I don’t know how to build a strong relationship with myself. I don’t know how to process my emotions. Well, that’s exactly what I and my team teach you in the weight loss for doctors only coaching program.

Because you’re right, these are skills that you need to learn. I didn’t know. No one taught me this stuff until like seven years ago. Eight years ago, I didn’t know it. I had to learn and I had to practice. And it can really, really, really help to be guided through it by somebody else who knows what they’re talking about instead of just trying to, like, bumble around on your own. So very soon I will be letting you know about another opportunity to place your deposit on our upcoming weight Loss for Doctors only program that will be starting in May. So you can kind of file that one away. Keep listening to the podcast, will have more information for you on that coming soon. So just so you know, right. Like all of these skills, everything I teach you, none of this is just like one off kind of stuff. Or it only applies in this one way or this one part of your life, right?

Anything that you’re avoiding, which there’s so many things to be avoided in this world, in our lives. This is the same work. It’s exact same thing for all of it. So, I mean, listen, please take care of yourself and go to the doctor. I actually just yesterday finally set something up. I had had a abnormal mammogram. This is a while back. I remember a couple of years ago, and then I needed to have a biopsy that thankfully came back negative. And then I needed like additional follow up.

And I’m supposed to have like a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. And I had that scheduled for last month. And then my son broke his nose. And then the day that he had it set in the O.R. was the same morning, and I thought maybe I’d be able to get him home before I could go to that appointment. And then it just took forever. And I had to skip it, and then I needed to reschedule it. And I finally just rescheduled it yesterday. And probably knowing that I was going to be recording this helped me to be motivated to go ahead and do that. But, you know, I always look at it like, well, if I actually have breast cancer, I’d really rather know now then when it’s much more involved. Right. Like it’s never going to be convenient to have any of these things happen. And guess what? We can deal with it no matter what.

And of course, being in a coaching program or having a coach by your side to be able to help you, or whether if it’s not coaching for you, maybe it’s a therapist or, you know, a close friend or relative that you can talk these things out with. Like when you know you have support, then no matter what comes up at the appointment, you know you’re going to be okay. And similarly, no matter what happens with that difficult conversation, you know you’re going to be supported. You’re going to be okay.

No matter what the scale shows. When you step on it, you’re going to be supported. You’re going to be okay. So get yourself to your appointments, whichever ones you need to be doing. Interestingly, I just had my I think, you know, maybe you don’t know, but about five years ago I had appendicitis. And then when they took the appendix out, you know, just like overnight, which I didn’t upset on that long time ago, they found that there was a neuroendocrine tumor in there. And long story short, I’m not going to get into all the details, but I now get labs and an MRI of the abdomen and pelvis every year. And that’s not something that I avoid.

In fact, I actually had somehow fallen off their radar. I was supposed to have it in the fall and I realized it. And luckily I had the email of the doctor and was like, Hey, I think I have been forgotten by you guys. And so they quit, got me scheduled and luckily everything was all normal and fine again. But you know, why am I motivated to do that more? Because guess what? I really, really don’t want to have a neuroendocrine tumor growing without me aware of it in my body. That is not going to be cool. And so we’re going to keep doing that for probably at least another five years because they can be slow growing and we want to make sure that it’s not there.

So so it’s interesting, right? For some things, we think about it differently. For that, it’s like, yeah, I’m going to get in there and do it no matter what. But when it comes to this mammogram, right, Isn’t that so funny? Because that’s also preventing cancer. I never said that our brains make sense, right? But here we are nonetheless. So get yourself in. Do the things that you need to do. Get that colonoscopy. I just did it. It was not as bad as I thought I was going to be. Like everyone said, the prep was the worst part, but it was fine and got through it. It’s really just a couple of days of your life and then it’s good to know that you’re fine and you don’t have anything going on in there, right? So much better than waiting, waiting, waiting and having to deal with the consequences. All right, my friend, thanks so much for your attention.

Go to Portugal if you can. You don’t have to go to Portugal. But it was fun. It was it was a really nice trip. And then make sure that you’re getting the support that you need for whatever the hard thing is that you’re avoiding. With that, I’m going to wish you a great rest of your week, and I’ll talk to you very soon. Take care. Ready to start making progress on your weight loss goals for lots of free help. Go to katrinaubellmd.com and click on Free Resources.